Left: Yasser Abdul Ghani, a Birzeit commerce student, hangs on to life by a thread in the Ramallah Hospital ICU. Shot in the chest by an Israeli soldier from a distance of 20 meters, the bullet severely damaged his heart and lung. Photo by Saleem Daoud.
His brain was damaged from the loss of blood and Yasser died in a Jordanian hospital on 6th February 1997.
As a student, Yasser found himself surrounded by a large group of friends and matured into a leader of political life on campus. Many times he tried to change his lifestyle and pay more attention to his personal life and studies, but he was always unsuccessful. His friends remember him as someone who was on a quest for knowledge that drove him to explore things.
Right: This photo is of another injured demonstrator, who I think was called Ayman Abdul Jawad. He suffered a severe head injury and later died. Photo by Saleem Daoud
After the chaos of the noisy hospital outside, the quiet of this room reminded me of a cathedral. Outside in the corridor, I had witnessed Yasser Abdul Ghani's sister screaming at journalists to leave them alone. It's a difficult call in those situations to decide what to do. You have to balance the public need to know with the private need to grieve.
We had briefly spoken to the family and realised that they needed peace. We didn't need to talk to them as the whole story lay in front of us hooked up to tubes and monitors. "Knowledge is life," Yasser's friends reported he used to say, "No one can imagine life without a search for knowledge."
Yasser Abdul Ghani was 19-years-old when he went out today to confront those who oppress his people. They may have killed him but he did ultimately understand a freedom that came from speaking all that was on his mind with a very articulate stone.
Left: His name, "Hisham", written on his arm, another ICU patient with a head injury. "Possibly brain dead" said the administrator of the hospital. Photo by Saleem Daoud
I couldn't use my camera in this situation, standing above these dying people in the ICU. Later, a friend Saleem told me that he had photos from this room. Out of the situation, I was actually glad to be able to represent it on the Web.
At the time, I remember a strong sense of eternity hanging over these people. All our lives are spent running here and there, doing this or that. All of us must face death.
With life support machines humming and doctors and nurses silently working, I was witnessing that sacred moment of death in the lives of four individuals. Not for the first time in my life, I asked God for power to be able to do something about this whole mess known as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What you are reading now is part of that.